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Why NetEase Inc (ADR) (NTES) Is One Of Our Top Stock Picks

NetEase Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:NTES) stock, which has delivered a return of over 18% in 2017 so far is one of our top stock picks. Here’s why.

Shares of Hangzhou, China-based NetEase Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:NTES) have been part of our ‘stocks to buy‘ list since Jan 2011, when the stock first made it to the list. And since then, NTES stock has delivered a cumulative return of over 500%. The stock, which has made it to our list of top stock picks consistently, has started 2017 on a strong note too, piling on gains of over 18% in the Year To Date (YTD). Even after amassing these massive gains, NetEase remains one of our favorites. What makes NetEase so attractive?


Copyright: kgtoh / 123RF Stock Photo

Why We Like NTES Stock Right Now

Over the years, NetEase has backed its stellar stock performance with strong fundamentals, and even after the humongous returns it has delivered, most of those fundamentals are still very much intact. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of investing in NetEase stock right now.

NetEase Is Still Growing At A Fast Clip

Back in 2011, when we first identified NetEase Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:NTES) as one of the stocks with strong long term growth potential, the company’s quarterly revenue was just over $200 million. NetEase has come a long way since then, reporting a revenue of about $1.4 billion in Q3 2016, the company’s latest quarter. NetEase has seen its revenue grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37.3% over the last 5 years. Yet, its top line growth continues to impress, having clocked in at over 31% in Q3 2016.

As we mentioned in our previous post, in which we explained why Facebook is one of our top picks, sequential growth is a handy indicator of consistent growth. While Year on Year (YoY) growth adjusts for seasonality, sequential growth eliminates exceptions like the base effect, which is a result of stronger of weaker than average comparable year ago numbers. Over the last two years, NetEase has delivered an average sequential growth of 12.9%, which is quite impressive.

Growth Doesn’t Come At The Cost Of Profitability For NetEase

In spite of the fact that NetEase is growing at a fast clip, the company hasn’t compromised on profitability. In Q3, for instance, NetEase recorded an operating profit margin of 31%, while maintaining a healthy net profit margin of ~30%. And that trend has sustained over longer periods of time. Over the last 5 years, NetEase has maintained an average operating profit margin of 36.4%. And the same kind of strength is reflected in other metrics like ROE and ROIC. NetEase has an REO of over 32% and an ROIC of over 220%. Both of those metrics inspire a lot of confidence.

While you’re holding onto NTES shares, there’s also a dividend yield of just over 1% on offer. That’s as of yesterday’s closing price. Further, the company also announced a buyback program (1) in November 2016. NetEase plans to buyback shares worth $1 billion over the course of 12 months starting from the date of announcement. That’s not much given the company’s ~$33 billion market cap. However, much like the dividend yield, it’s just one more additional attraction, albeit a small one.

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